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Civil Liberties News Articles
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These civil liberties news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of civil liberties news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Jorge Bergoglio: Who is the new pope?
2013-03-13, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57574147/jorge-bergoglio-who-is-the-new-pope

Jorge Mario Bergoglio - who will be now known as Pope Francis - has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires ... is the first Jesuit to be elected pope. In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility. Bergoglio is known to be conservative on spiritual issues. He opposes abortion, same-sex marriage and supports celibacy. Bergoglio's legacy as cardinal includes his efforts to repair the reputation of a church that lost many followers by failing to openly challenge Argentina's murderous 1976-83 dictatorship. Many Argentines remain angry over the church's acknowledged failure to openly confront a regime that was kidnapping and killing thousands of people as it sought to eliminate "subversive elements" in society. Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court, and when he eventually did testify in 2010, his answers were evasive, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman said. Bergoglio's own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens, and yet publicly endorsed the dictators. The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support," [Bregman said.]

Note: An entire edition of Democracy Now! was devoted to the record of Bergoglio, including an interview with the Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky. For more analysis, click here, here and here.


Above the law
2013-03-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katrina-vanden-heuvel-above-the-law/20...

“The government of the United States,” wrote Chief Justice John Marshall in his famous decision in Marbury v. Madison, “has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men.” This principle — grounded in the Constitution, enforced by an independent judiciary — is central to the American creed. Citizens have rights, and fundamental to these is due process of the law. Yet last week Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking for the administration with an alarmingly casual nonchalance, traduced the whole notion of a nation of laws. First, the attorney general responded to Sen. Rand Paul’s inquiry as to whether the president claimed the “power to authorize a lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil and without trial.” Holder wrote that, speaking hypothetically, it is “possible to imagine” an extraordinary circumstance in which that power might become “necessary and appropriate.” In response to the growing furor, Holder sent Paul another letter, stating clearly that the president has no authority to use a “weaponized drone” against an American in the United States who is “not engaged in combat.” But that, of course, only underscores the issue. The country is waging a war on terrorism that admits no boundary and no end. Now Holder is saying that the president has the authority to kill Americans in the United States if they are “engaged in combat.” No hearing, no review, no due process of law.

Note: For a disturbing report on the massive expansion of drones over US skies, click here.


1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It's Time For A National Conversation
2013-03-11, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/03/11/1-6-billion-rounds-of-ammo-...

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled "Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo". It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. Some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. DHS now is [also] showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation. The Department of Homeland Security is apparently taking delivery (apparently through the Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico VA, via the manufacturer – Navistar Defense LLC) of an undetermined number of [recently retrofitted] ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.” Why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. [But] on the streets of America?

Note: For a U.S. Army field manual titled "Internment and Resettlement Operations" (FM 3-39.40) describing how large numbers of American citizens could be sent to internment camps if involved in "terrorist" activities, click here. The introduction to this document states, "Commanders will use technology and conduct police intelligence operations to influence and control populations, evacuate detainees and, conclusively, transition rehabilitative and reconciliation operations to other functional agencies." For a disturbing report on the massive expansion of drones over US skies, click here.


U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances
2013-03-13, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-13/business/chi-us-to-let-spy-agen...

The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document. The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down [targeted persons] by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of "suspicious customer activity," such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN. The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before. Financial institutions file more than 15 million "suspicious activity reports" every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the games intelligence agencies play, click here.


President Could, In Theory, Order Drone Strike Inside U.S., Holder Says
2013-03-05, NPR
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/03/05/173572444/president-could-in-t...

Attorney General Eric Holder has said in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul that the president could in an "entirely hypothetical" situation authorize the military to use lethal force within U.S. territory. The letter to Paul came in response to three inquiries the Kentucky Republican sent to John Brennan, President Obama's nominee for CIA director. Paul's letters asked if it was legal for the U.S. government to use lethal force, including in the form of drone strikes, on Americans inside the country. Here's Holder's response, in part: "As members of this Administration have previously indicated, the U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001."

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the loss of civil liberties in the US, click here.


Rand Paul filibusters vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan over drones
2013-03-06, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57572883/rand-paul-filibusters-vote-on-ci...

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is filibustering the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, delivering a protracted speech on the Senate floor in protest of the Obama administration's controversial drone program, of which Brennan has been a key architect. Paul, speaking during the debate surrounding Brennan's nomination on the Senate floor, said he would "speak until I can no longer speak" in order to get his point across. "I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court," he said. Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder clarified to Paul in a letter that the U.S. drone policy does authorize the use of military force on against Americans on U.S. soil in cases of "extraordinary circumstance." Paul, a longstanding opponent of the administration's controversial targeted killing policy, expressed his outrage in a statement following his receipt of the letter and continued that tirade on the floor today. "That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in bowling green, Kentucky, is an abomination," Paul said. "I object to people becoming so fearful they gradually give up their rights."

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the loss of civil liberties in the US, click here.


Three Democratic myths used to demean the Paul filibuster
2013-03-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/10/paul-filibuster-drones-pr...

Commencing immediately upon the 9/11 attack, the US government ... has spent 12 straight years inventing and implementing new theories of government power in the name of Terrorism. Every year since 9/11 has ushered in increased authorities of exactly the type Americans are inculcated to believe only exist in those other, non-free societies: ubiquitous surveillance, impenetrable secrecy, and the power to imprison and even kill without charges or due process. The Obama administration has already exercised the power to target even its own citizens for execution far from any battlefield. [This] has prompted almost no institutional resistance from the structures designed to check executive abuses: courts, the media, and Congress. Last week's 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director by GOP Sen. Rand Paul was one of the first ... Congressional efforts to dramatize and oppose just how radical these Terrorism-justified powers have become. For the first time since the 9/11 attack, even lowly cable news shows were forced ... to extensively discuss the government's extremist theories of power. All of this put Democrats ... in a very uncomfortable position. The politician who took such a unique stand in defense of these principles was not merely a Republican but a leading member of its dreaded Tea Party wing. Some Democrats, to their credit, publicly supported Paul. But most Democratic Senators ran away as fast as possible from having anything to do with the debate. Paul was doing nothing more than voicing concerns that have long been voiced by leading civil liberties groups such as the ACLU. But almost without exception, progressives who defend Obama's Terrorism policies steadfastly ignore the fact that they are embracing policies that are vehemently denounced by the ACLU.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the loss of civil liberties in the US, click here.


FBI's apparent entrapment of San Jose man continues its track record
2013-02-27, San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley's leading newspaper)
http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22665506/fadi-saba-fbis-apparent-entrap...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a track record of attacking the undesirables of the time. In the early part of the 20th century, immigrants from Italy were the focus; in the 1940s, it was Japanese-Americans; in the 1950s, it was Americans who questioned U.S. foreign policy; in the 1960s, civil rights activists. Today, it's ... the Arab. It's the South Asian. And often, the FBI uses entrapment to create a terror case out of thin air and then claim to have foiled it. San Jose resident Matthew Llaneza, who converted to Islam in 2011, is accused of attempting to bomb a bank building in Oakland. However, many feel that the FBI used entrapment, which, in criminal law, is a legal defense. It is the act by law enforcement officers of inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal is not otherwise predisposed to committing the crime. Over the past several years, the FBI has repeatedly manufactured terror plots by targeting vulnerable members of the Arab, South Asian and Muslim communities. The target is usually an individual or a small group of people with a troubled past, psychological issues or financial problems. Llaneza's is a classic case of entrapment. [It] closely follows the pattern. [He] has a history of psychological problems. This presumed inability to make sound judgment is perfect for entrapment. His bombing plot seems to first emerge in a conversation with law enforcement, and his history of mental illness indicates he didn't have the capacity to commit acts of terror on his own.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the games intelligence agencies play, click here.


I did it to make the world a better place: Manning
2013-03-01, Sydney Morning Herald/New York Times
http://www.smh.com.au/world/i-did-it-to-make-the-world-a-better-place-manning...

Bradley Manning has confessed in open court to providing vast archives of military and diplomatic files to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, saying he wanted the information to become public "to make the world a better place". Appearing before a military judge for more than an hour on [Feb. 28], Private Manning read a statement recounting how he joined the military, became an intelligence analyst in Iraq, decided that certain documents should become known to the American public to prompt a wider debate about the Iraq War, and ultimately uploaded them to WikiLeaks. Before reading the statement, he pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in connection with the leak, which included videos of airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan in which civilians were killed, logs of military incident reports, assessment files of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and 250,000 diplomatic cables. The guilty pleas exposed him to up to 20 years in prison. But the case against the slightly built, bespectacled 25-year-old – who has become a folk hero among antiwar and whistleblower advocacy groups – is not over. In a riveting personal history, Private Manning portrayed himself as thinking carefully about the categories of information he was divulging, excluding the sort that would harm the United States. He said he was initially concerned about diplomatic cables in particular, but after doing research learned that the most sensitive ones were not placed into the database to which he had access, and he concluded that those might prove "embarrassing" but would not cause harm.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.


Bradley Manning: the face of heroism
2013-02-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/28/bradley-manning-heroism-p...

If Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, then he is a consummate hero, and deserves a medal and our collective gratitude, not decades in prison. At his court-martial proceeding [today] in Fort Meade, Manning ... pleaded guilty to having been the source of the most significant leaks to WikiLeaks. He also pleaded not guilty to 12 of the 22 counts, including the most serious - the capital offense of "aiding and abetting the enemy", which could send him to prison for life - on the ground that nothing he did was intended to nor did it result in harm to US national security. The US government will now almost certainly proceed with its attempt to prosecute him on those remaining counts. Spencer Ackerman was there and reported: "Manning's motivation in leaking, he said, was to 'spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and foreign policy in general', he said, and 'cause society to reevaluate the need and even desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every day.' Manning is absolutely right when he said today that the documents he leaked "are some of the most significant documents of our time". They revealed a multitude of previously secret crimes and acts of deceit and corruption by the world's most powerful factions. Journalists and even some government officials have repeatedly concluded that any actual national security harm from his leaks is minimal if it exists at all. To this day, the documents Manning just admitted having leaked play a prominent role in the ability of journalists around the world to inform their readers about vital events.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.


British terror suspects quietly stripped of citizenship… then killed by drones
2013-02-28, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/british-terror-suspects-quietly-st...

The Government has secretly ramped up a controversial programme that strips people of their British citizenship on national security grounds – with two of the men subsequently killed by American drone attacks. Since 2010, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has revoked the passports of 16 individuals, many of whom are alleged to have had links to militant or terrorist groups. Critics of the programme warn that it allows ministers to “wash their hands” of British nationals suspected of terrorism who could be subject to torture and illegal detention abroad. They add that it also allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or “rendered” without any onus on the British Government to intervene. At least five of those deprived of their UK nationality ... were born in Britain, and one man had lived in the country for almost 50 years. Those affected have their passports cancelled, and lose their right to enter the UK – making it very difficult to appeal. The leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce said the present situation “smacked of mediaeval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary”. Ian Macdonald QC, the president of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, described the citizenship orders as “sinister”. “It’s not open government; it’s closed, and it needs to be exposed.” Government officials act when people are out of the country – on two occasions while on holiday – before cancelling passports and revoking citizenships.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.


Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
2013-02-04, NBC News
http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16843014-exclusive-justice-de...

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo ... provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens. In March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.” But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a ... “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland. “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states. Instead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

Note: To read the entire 'white paper' on drone strikes on Americans, click here. For detailed analysis by a distinguished lawyer, click here.


To Kill an American
2013-02-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/opinion/to-kill-an-american.html

The newly disclosed “white paper” offering a legal reasoning behind the claim that President Obama has the power to order the killing of American citizens ... coyly describes another, classified document ... that actually provided the legal justification for ordering the killing of American citizens. That document still has not been provided to Congress, despite repeated demands from lawmakers. According to the white paper, the Constitution and the Congressional authorization for the use of force after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, gave Mr. Obama the right to kill any American citizen that an “informed, high-level official” decides is a “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or an associated force” and presents an “imminent threat of violent attack.” It never tries to define what an “informed, high-level official” might be, and the authors of the memo seem to have redefined the word “imminent” in a way that diverges sharply from its customary meaning. It takes the position that the only “oversight” needed for such a decision resides within the executive branch, and there is no need to explain the judgment to Congress, the courts or the public — or, indeed, to even acknowledge that the killing took place. The paper argues that judges and Congress don’t have the right to rule on or interfere with decisions made in the heat of combat. The white paper “is a confusing blend of self-defense and law of war concepts” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies. “Its due process analysis is especially weak.”

Note: To read the entire 'white paper' on drone strikes on Americans, click here. For a more detailed analysis by a distinguished lawyer, click here. What this means is that if the president doesn't like someone and deems him an imminent threat, he can have that person killed and legally keep it all a secret. Is America drifting towards a police state?


Police spies stole identities of dead children
2013-02-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/03/police-spies-identities-dead-children

Britain's largest police force stole the identities of an estimated 80 dead children and issued fake passports in their names for use by undercover police officers. The Metropolitan police secretly authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children's parents. Over three decades generations of police officers trawled through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches. Undercover officers created aliases based on the details of the dead children and were issued with accompanying identity records such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Some of the police officers spent up to 10 years pretending to be people who had died. The technique of using dead children as aliases has remained classified intelligence for several decades, although it was fictionalised in Frederick Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal. As a result, police have internally nicknamed the process of searching for suitable identities as the "jackal run". One former undercover agent compared an operation on which he was deployed to the methods used by the Stasi. The practice was introduced 40 years ago by police to lend credibility to the backstory of covert operatives spying on protesters, and to guard against the possibility that campaigners would discover their true identities. Since then dozens of SDS [Special Demonstration Squad] officers, including those who posed as anti-capitalists, animal rights activists and violent far-right campaigners, have used the identities of dead children.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on police corruption, click here.


Obama's non-closing of GITMO
2013-01-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/29/obama-guantanamo-pentagon...

The New York Times ... reported yesterday that the State Department "reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him". That move obviously confirms what has long been assumed: that the camp will remain open indefinitely. Dozens of the current camp detainees have long been cleared by Pentagon reviews for release - including Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 36-year-old Yemeni who died at the camp in September after almost 11 years in a cage despite never having been charged with a crime. Like so many of his fellow detainees, his efforts to secure his release were vigorously (and successfully) thwarted by the Obama administration. What [makes] Guantánamo such a travesty of justice [is] not its geographic locale in the Caribbean Sea, but rather its system of indefinite detention: that people [are] put in cages, often for life, without any charges or due process. Obama's plan was to preserve and continue that core injustice - indefinite detention - but simply moved onto US soil. Put simply, Obama's plan was never to close Gitmo as much as it was to re-locate it to Illinois: to what the ACLU dubbed "Gitmo North". That's why ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said of Obama's 2009 "close-Gitmo" plan that it "is hardly a meaningful step forward" and that "while the Obama administration inherited the Guantánamo debacle, this current move is its own affirmative adoption of those policies." That's because, he said, "the administration plans to continue its predecessor's policy of indefinite detention without charge or trial for some detainees, with only a change of location."

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government attacks on civil liberties, click here.


How Free Speech Died on Campus
2012-11-16, Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323894704578115440209134854.html

At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—"a bizarre, parallel dimension," as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [FIRE], calls it. In his new book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, Mr. Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. It was wiped out in the 1990s. Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website, and Mr. Lukianoff's book offers an eye-opening sampling. What they share is a view of "harassment" so broad and so removed from its legal definition that, Mr. Lukianoff says, "literally every student on campus is already guilty." Conservatives and libertarians are especially vulnerable to such charges of harassment.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.


Feigning Free Speech on Campus
2012-10-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/opinion/feigning-free-speech-on-campus.html

Colleges and universities are supposed to be bastions of unbridled inquiry and expression, but they probably do as much to repress free speech as any other institution in young people’s lives. Since the 1980s ... colleges have enacted stringent speech codes. From protests and rallies to displays of posters and flags, students have been severely constrained in their ability to demonstrate their beliefs. The speech codes are at times intended to enforce civility, but they often backfire, suppressing free expression instead of allowing for open debate of controversial issues. In a study of 392 campus speech codes last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ... found that 65 percent of the colleges had policies that in [their] view violated the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to free speech. Some elite colleges in particular have Orwellian speech codes that are so vague and broad that they would never pass constitutional muster at state-financed universities. A 2010 study by the American Association of Colleges and Universities of 24,000 college students and 9,000 faculty and staff members found that only 35.6 percent of the students — and only 18.5 percent of the faculty and staff — strongly agreed that it was “safe to hold unpopular positions on campus.” Colleges have promulgated speech codes that are not only absurd in their results but also detrimental to the ideals of free inquiry. Students can’t learn how to navigate democracy and engage with their fellow citizens if they are forced to think twice before they speak their mind.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.


Can the Secret Service tell you to shut up?
2012-03-15, Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/15/can-the-secret-service-tell-y...

[On March 8, 2012], President Obama signed into law the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. This law permits Secret Service agents to designate any place they wish as a place where free speech, association and petition of the government are prohibited. It permits the Secret Service to make these determinations based on the content of speech. Thus, federal agents whose work is to protect public officials and their friends may prohibit the speech and the gatherings of folks who disagree with those officials or permit the speech and the gatherings of those who would praise them, even though the First Amendment condemns content-based speech discrimination by the government. The new law also provides that anyone who gathers in a “restricted” area may be prosecuted. Permitting people to express publicly their opinions to the president only at a time and in a place and manner such that he cannot hear them violates the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to useful speech. The same may be said of the rights to associate and to petition. If peaceful public assembly and public expression of political demands on the government can be restricted to places where government officials cannot be confronted, then those rights, too, have been neutered. This abominable legislation enjoyed overwhelming support from both political parties in Congress because the establishment loves power, fears dissent and hates inconvenience, and it doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution.

Note: How strange that the Washington Times was one of the few media to have even covered this incredible infringement on the right to free speech. Fox News also covered it, as you can see in this excellent video. Now instead of being a country where free speech is held in great esteem, the US has "free speech zones" outside of which citizens lose their right to speak freely. What's happening here?


Justice for the PayPal WikiLeaks protesters: why DDoS is free speech
2013-01-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/22/paypal-wikileaks-proteste...

In December 2010, the hacktivist collective Anonymous voiced their displeasure with PayPal, over that company's part in the banking blockade of Wikileaks. A reported 10,000 protesters around the world took to the internet with a protest method known as DDoS (distributed denial of service) – the functional equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a computer. With enough people refreshing enough times, the site is flooded with traffic, slowed, or even temporarily knocked offline. No damage is done to the site or its backing computer system; and when the protest is over, the site resumes business as usual. This is not "hacking". It is protest, and it is speech. Or it was … until the United States government decided to serve 42 warrants and indict 14 protesters. While protest charges have typically been seen as tantamount to nuisance crimes, like trespassing or loitering, these were different. The 14 PayPal defendants, some of whom were teenagers when the protest occurred, find themselves looking at 15 years in federal prison – for exercising their free speech rights; for redressing their grievances to PayPal, a major corporation; for standing up for what they believed was right. Instead of being handed a $50 fine, as one would face for traditional protest crimes such as a sit-in, the PayPal defendants' freedoms are in real jeopardy. Since the PayPal prosecution, there have been no DDoS protests on that scale. Speech has been chilled. Supreme court Justice William O Douglas said: "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.


The FBI and protesters, then and now
2013-01-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/The-FBI-and-protesters-then-a...

Recently released FBI files about the Occupy movement do not reveal the kind of dirty tricks J. Edgar Hoover's bureau used against demonstrators in the Bay Area during the '60s, but they present some striking parallels to those dark days and have rightly raised concern among civil libertarians. The records ... show that over the decades the machinery of surveillance remains much the same, even as expanded intelligence powers and technological advances magnify potential abuse. As in the '60s, the FBI reports use sweeping language like "potential terrorist threat" to characterize nonviolent dissent. As then, the bureau exchanges information with a vast network of federal agencies, state and local police, campus cops and corporate security. And once again the FBI is invoking great secrecy. Such activity, Congress found in the '70s, contributed to massive intelligence abuses. The FBI released 99 heavily redacted pages and withheld 288 more in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a public-interest legal organization in Washington, D.C. Even while noting Occupy organizers do "not condone the use of violence," the records show that FBI field offices across the nation collected information on the premise [that] the protests posed a potential "terrorist" or "criminal" threat. The bureau shared information on Occupy with police on joint terrorism task forces, which have raised concerns about skirting local surveillance restrictions, and with fusion centers, regional intelligence hubs recently criticized by Congress as violating civil liberties.

Note: The writer of this article, Seth Rosenfeld, is the author of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the games intelligence agencies play, click here.



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